Tag Archives: hatha yoga

5 facts you should know about women’s health

5 facts you should know about women’s health

  1. Women are more prone to certain health conditions than men. Women are more likely to experience depression, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some conditions, like osteoporosis, are directly related to women’s hormone fluctuations and smaller frames. Others, like fibromyalgia, are much more common in women, but scientists have yet to figure out why.

 

  1. Women do not always experience the same symptoms as men with the same conditions. While men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women, women are more likely to die of the same heart attack. The reasons may be related to the publicized symptoms: while everyone knows about chest pressure and pain down the left arm, these are symptoms typically experienced by men. Women may experience dizziness, light-headedness, or fatigue. Knowing the different ways conditions manifest in men and women can truly be a lifesaver.

 

  1. Women have different risk factors than men. Remember that bit about women being more susceptible to stroke? In addition to the risk factors shared with men, there are also many women-specific risks, including being pregnant, taking hormonal birth control pills, using hormone replacement therapy, and experiencing frequent migraines. Unfortunately, these additional risk factors don’t always show up in educational materials.

 

  1. Women and men sometimes react differently to drugs and other treatments. Women wake up faster from anesthesia. Some drugs, like ibuprofen, seem to be more effective in men than women, while others like erythromycin (an antibiotic) work better in women. And of course there are medications typically prescribed for sex-specific issues that can interfere with each other. As an example, Paracetemol can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control.

 

In spite of all this, women’s and men’s bodies are more similar than they are different. We share 99% of our genetic material with every other person on the planet. We have the same basic structure, suffer from most of the same illnesses, and heal in the same way. A healthy diet, active lifestyle, adequate sleep, and positive attitude are beneficial to men and women alike. There are no studies showing whether massage or yoga therapy is better for any one subset of people than others. Maybe that research will be done in the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know whether it works for you, there’s only one way to find out!

Schedule an appointment today on 085 1502378 or see www.anandacentre.com for more details on Yoga Classes and other therapies available at the centre.

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How Yoga can help HIV and AIDS

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December 1 is World AIDS Day. This month, whoever you are, take a little time to learn about what’s been discovered about HIV since you first heard of it all those years ago. We now know about different strains of HIV, and how our bodies react differently to each. We know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and how serodiscordant couples (couples in which only one partner is HIV+) can safely conceive children together. And we know that the support of friends, neighbors, family, and loved ones is one of the key factors in the health and wellbeing of people with HIV.

How Can Yoga Help for HIV/AIDS?

Yoga can help boost immune system and many studies have shown:

  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
  • Increased white blood cell counts
  • Decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Activates natural killer cells

Yoga can also help decrease pain in symptoms specific to HIV/AIDS by relieving:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramps
  • General body tension
  • Oedema
  • Inflammation

Additionally, by increasing blood flow, Yoga assists with increasing oxygen and nutrients to areas with symptoms.

More Yoga Goals for HIV

Various Yoga techniques can be incorporated into a yoga therapy HIV program. These varying techniques used are practised through Pranayama (breathing), Asanas (postures) and Kriyas (cleansing). They help facilitate the removal of excess phlegm to relieve respiratory congestion, increase blood and lymph flow to assist the liver function in toxin removal and to encourage blood cell regeneration. They help prevent or reduce muscular atrophy typical of immobilization/inactivity through improving muscle tone.

If you’re HIV positive, here’s a little of what you can do to keep yourself healthy and suppress the virus:

De-stress yourself. Stress can really affect the immune system, making you more open to illness and infection. A good sleep each night, practices like yoga and regular massage therapy can help combat stress.

Be sure to vaccinate against infections.  Pneumonia and flu can be devastating to someone with HIV. Getting the regular vaccinations against these and any other infections is a good way to stay healthy especially in winter months.

Stay healthy in your choices. No smoking, eating healthy, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and of course looking after your mental health too.

 

 

Silver Island and shelf making.

Every now and then it is good to do something out of one’s comfort zone. So with that mantra in mind this year I did just that. My sister had mentioned going to pick olives on Silver Island in Greece. Helena, our Acupuncturist here in Ananda Centre, is good friends with the owners. So it was out of my comfort zone but not totally scarey!

On Silver Island, sisters Lissa and Claire, Lissa’s husband Corne and Ernest the island’s caretaker  facilitate a weekly yoga retreat for 7 months of the year. I must mention it is the world’s only private island yoga retreat centre. Amazing, yes? And not forgetting Lulu the dog. She was a real star, great dancer and an awful distraction with her cuteness!

Off we went, arriving in Athens at a decent time of 7.30pm. Booked into our hotel close to where the airport bus dropped us at Syntagma Square. We stayed that night in the Athens Diamond Plus Hotel. Clean and very reasonable but you have to say it in the accent of that  fancy lady voice on the tv commercials. Everything in the hotel was white gloss, I felt like I was in an 80’s Wham video!

Up early next morning to catch the 8.45am bus to Oreoi on Evia island. 3 hour journey – doable. Got the first Spanakopita (spinach and cheese  pie in filo crust, yum) of the trip in the bakery by the port and waited for our lift to Silver Island. Very quiet in Oreoi as it was November but judging by all the cute restaurants on the waterfront you could imagine that it would get busy in high season.

Coming in to view.

Coming in to view.

Corne kindly met us and our mode of transport to the island was a very cool speedboat, very James Bond or something! The water like glass, the sun shining and the island lighthouse coming into view.

View from Silver Island

View from Silver Island

Intros and the start of what was to be many cups of tea later the guys had lunch and headed back out to work. This gave myself and Vicki a chance to have a quick dip in the sea and a walk to warm up. The sisters thought we were mad to be getting into the water but we assured them being Irish it was a temperature akin to Salthill on Ireland’s best summer’s day.

There's a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

There’s a chicken in me gully! Silver Island boasts home to 23 chickens. Not sure if this guy was of the Jean Claude Van Dame or Gunky lineage?

Up the next morning at 7.30am – big bowl of porridge and cup of coffee and we were ready for the day. All the olives had been picked the week previous so there now was the job of pruning the olive trees. There is a skill to this so our job was to remove the fallen branches and make into piles to be burned later on. Easy enough you say until you factor in an angle of 45 degrees on the slopes where the trees grow. Ok so I might exaggerate a little but it was hilly! Lets just say the muscles in my legs were getting a great workout. We broke for lunch at 1pm and there is nothing like a hunger built up from a bit of labour. Back out for 2 and then finished at 4.30. I have to admit I got a shock! I like to think I work hard manually with the massage but this was very new. Strangely though there was always a great sense of satisfaction when each day was finished during our stay.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Claire and Vicki getting into their roots.

Our jobs over the next 10 days included gully clearing, shed clearing, shelf making (thanks to Claire’s guidance we became proficient in scaffold shelf making – hipster up cycling eat your heart out!), bush clearing and I even managed to swop a couple of afternoons off in exchange for giving massages! Ernest reckoned we made a good team the whole lot of us. I also learned how to prune an olive tree.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

The Team -Ernest, Corne, Lissa, me, Vicki and of course the wonderful Lulu the dog. Missing is Claire.

Our evenings were spent deciding whether to go for a cold shower (no running hot water on the island) or have a bucket bath. I had forgotten how I can take things for granted! End result always good though. Clean, warm and hungry. Each night we had an amazing meal prepared by the guys along with a glass of local wine. Yum! It was so good to sit around a table and be social. No internet, no distractions. We discussed so much and discovered we had a lot in common too. There were many belly laughs and tears from both laughing and crying. Amazing when you keep things simple what can happen.

Vicki and I enjoying a fab brunch, cooked by Lissa and Claire, on our day off.

I got to wash my hair in the sea. On the island no products containing nasty chemicals are allowed as the water is recycled. A wonderful organic Greek range called Korres is available to those who visit Silver Island. I felt very wild-woman washing the hair with all natural stuff. Silver Island will have their own range of products soon, made by a friend on the mainland.

Vicki and I were in charge of dishwashing each evening. Which was not a chore for 5 people compared to cooking and washing for 14 during the retreat season. We were in bed each night by 9pm every night, I couldn’t even read my book as I was wiped.

We said our farewells after 10 days, joked about coming back to work on the island though you never know, we could surprise them next year! We stopped off in Edipsos on the way to Athens, they have amazing thermal baths there. Just what the weary bodies needed. 2 days in Athens where the sun shone to provide perfect tourist conditions. I had been to Athens before and was only too happy to see the Acropolis again. I really like Athens, it’s buzzing and understatedly cool.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

Even in November the water was beautiful.

I am not sure how to describe our trip away. A working holiday? A meditation of work? It was interesting to allow the mind to switch off and only have one’s focus on the task at hand. I was very happy with how my body didn’t let me down under the pressure and I came away unscathed but for the mosi bites! I dunno, maybe I would go back to help out but for a shorter length of time. I would, however, really love to go back as a guest someday. Seeing how the island is set up, it’s location and how beautiful it is definitely sells it to me. And not forgetting our wonderful hosts who without them the island would be nothing. They work very hard so that people can come and enjoy what they have enjoyed for years and that is the beauty and magic of Silver Island.

Agora in Athens

Agora in Athens

For more on the island and the retreats check out www.silverislandyoga.com

Massage Therapy, Yoga and Anxiety

“It is estimated that 1 in 9 individuals will suffer a primary anxiety disorder over their lifetime. Only a fraction of these individuals receive appropriate treatment which is a great pity as it has been demonstrated consistently that with expert therapy the majority of sufferers can achieve a lasting improvement.”  www.stpatricks.ie

Anxiety is described as a feeling of dread, fear, or apprehension often with no clear justification. Most people experience symptoms of anxiety at one time or another, but for those with a disorder, normal daily life is often interrupted and limited.

A few common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia (Social Anxiety), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While there are varying symptoms with each, many physiological responses overlap with the different disorders. Many people are able to function with symptoms while others are unable cope with them.

Some disorders manifest with physical symptoms like sleeping problems, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating or dry mouth. Others are purely emotional, denoted by  excessive, unrealistic worry, feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness. Usually, there’s a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.

Massage Therapy or/and Yoga may help anxiety

The American Massage Therapy Association has adopted a position statement based on research findings asserting that “massage therapy can assist in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.” It goes on to say that massage may reduce symptoms of anxiety in women in labor, psychiatric patients, cancer patients, patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, children with illnesses, and many more types of clients.

In an article published on http://www.healthharvard.edu it was noted that  “a descriptive 2005 study examined the effects of a single yoga class for inpatients at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital. The 113 participants included patients with bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. After the class, average levels of tension, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, and fatigue dropped significantly, as measured by the Profile of Mood States, a standard 65-item questionnaire that participants answered on their own before and after the class. Patients who chose to participate in additional classes experienced similar short-term positive effects.”

The effects of massage and yoga therapy include reduced blood pressure, slowed/regulated breathing, and a slower pulse rate. If increased heart rate and rapid breathing are symptoms of anxiety could  and yoga therapy may have a positive effect. Simply taking time to relax and removing yourself from the busy-ness of daily life can be helpful in handling some kinds of anxiety. Having a one hour massage once a month or attending a restorative yoga class are of great benefit.

Those with more complicated anxiety issues may benefit from regular massage/class  in conjunction with talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Restorative Yoga is used to help anxiety issues by stimulating the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest instead of Fight and Flight). The parasympathetic system slows our heart rate, dilates blood vessels, increases digestive and glandular secretions, and calming certain muscles. By regularly putting our body in this relaxed state it becomes less vulnerable to stress-related disease. The focus of Restorative Yoga is relaxation and renewal. The body is supported in various yoga poses that are maintained for several minutes at a time with the aid of props.

Ask questions

If you are unsure about trying massage or yoga to help your anxiety, ask questions. Call me and we can talk about your experience with massage or yoga and how it may help you. Check in with your doctor and your therapist or counselor. (Be sure to let me know if they would like more information about massage, yoga and anxiety, I can provide that!)

When you’re ready, we’ll schedule an appointment or come join the monthly Rest and Restore Workshop here at Ananda Centre, Slane (Tel: 085 1502378) and you can see firsthand how massage and yoga may help you.

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Cancer Care Support at Ananda Centre

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at the PINK PICNIC in the Conyngham Arms Hotel, Slane last week. Trish and the gang organised a brilliant event. It was great to see familiar faces and make some new friends…and all for a great cause. We hope you enjoyed the night too.

A little info on what we do here in relation to Cancer Care Support.
I all look forward to meeting you again at the ANANDA CENTRE.
Have fun tomorrow everyone taking part in the Pink Ribbon Walk.

Services Available

Massage for People Living with Cancer:
This massage therapy deconstructs common myths about the use of massage in cancer treatment. It emphasizes that mechanical action such as massage does not break tumours open or cause them to spread. It focuses on relieving the discomfort of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This type of massage therapy can be used in hospitals, in respite care, for the dying, and for exhausted caregivers. Each session is planned according to what treatment the person is undergoing at that time.
Contact Brenda: 085 1502378

Bio-Energy Therapy:
Bio-Energy healing works on treating blockages in the energy system which appear to be the cause of symptoms of ill-health, dis-ease, emotional issues etc. Bio-Energy uses in care may help to relieve symptoms of cancer or side effects of treatment such as anxiety, fatigue, pain, or nausea and vomiting. Bio-Energy therapy is said to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Some people with cancer have reported increased well-being, less pain and reduced nausea and vomiting after sessions. Bio-Energy therapy may be useful in reducing anxiety and increasing a sense of well-being.
Contact Evelyn: 086 8727472

Yoga Therapy:
Yoga in Cancer care is promoted as a natural way to help you relax and cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Generally, it can help to lift your mood and enhance well-being. Some people with cancer who have used yoga say that it helps calm their mind so that they can cope better with their cancer and its treatment. Others say that it helps to reduce symptoms and side effects such as pain, tiredness, sleep problems and depression.
Contact Brenda: 085 1502378

Reiki:
This Energy treatment may help some people to feel deeply relaxed, cope with difficult situations, relieve emotional stress or tension and improve overall wellbeing. Reiki is sometimes used in palliative care, especially in hospices.
Reiki may help to control side effects of cancer treatments, such as pain, anxiety and sickness. It is safe to have Reiki alongside your cancer treatment.
Contact Evelyn: 086 8727472, Ula: 086 0872526 or Brenda: 085 1502378

Acupuncture:
Acupuncture has received much attention as an adjunctive therapy in cancer treatments for its use in pain relief, reducing side effects, accelerating recovery and improving quality of life. A top recommendation for cancer pain is acupuncture. Acupuncture has its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is based on the theory that one can regulate the flow of “Qi” or vital energy, by stimulation of certain points of the body with needles.
Contact Helena: 086 8163130

Reflexology:
Reflexology is a gentle, supporting, non-invasive wellness therapy that is used widely to support people who are living with cancer, who are undergoing various medical interventions and surgery or are involved palliative care/end of life situations. Reflexology uses pressure points on the hands and feet to stimulate specific parts of the body to help bring about homeostasis (balance). Many hospices and cancer units in hospitals offer reflexology as one of many complementary therapies to support a person on their journey with cancer.
Contact Ula: 086 0872526

Naturopathy:
Naturopathic medicine focuses on health rather than sickness and uses “natural” approaches to healing. Using different methods it is helpful for pain relief and the side effects of medicine and treatments.
Contact Helena: 086 8163130

Please contact us here in ANANDA CENTRE if you have any questions on the above therapies. It is important to tell your doctor about any wellness therapy that you use. Then your doctor will always have the full picture about your care and treatment.
www.anandacentre.com
anandacentre@gmail.com

Because Even the Word Obstacle is an Obstacle – Alison Luterman

This is such a great poem. I first heard it at the Donna Farhi workshop I attended recently. If you are a swimmer too you will like it.
swim pool
Try to love everything that gets in your way:
the Chinese women in flowered bathing caps
murmuring together in Mandarin, doing leg exercises in your lane
while you execute thirty-six furious laps,
one for every item on your to-do list.
The heavy-bellied man who goes thrashing through the water
like a horse with a harpoon stuck in its side,
whose breathless tsunamis rock you from your course.
Teachers all. Learn to be small
and swim through obstacles like a minnow
without grudges or memory. Dart
toward your goal, sperm to egg. Thinking Obstacle
is another obstacle. Try to love the teenage girl
idly lounging against the ladder, showing off her new tattoo:
Cette vie est la mienne, This life is mine,
in thick blue-black letters on her ivory instep.
Be glad shell have that to look at all her life,
and keep going, keep going. Swim by an uncle
in the lane next to yours who is teaching his nephew
how to hold his breath underwater,
even though kids arent allowed at this hour. Someday,
years from now, this boy
who is kicking and flailing in the exact place
you want to touch and turn
will be a young man, at a wedding on a boat
raising his champagne glass in a toast
when a huge wave hits, washing everyone overboard.
He’ll come up coughing and spitting like he is now,
but he’ll come up like a cork,
alive. So your moment
of impatience must bow in service to a larger story,
because if something is in your way it is
going your way, the way
of all beings; towards darkness, towards light.

Alison Luterman